sat 28/05/2022

Shakespeare

Julius Caesar, Shakespeare's Globe review - the Bard buried in bad choices

With tyrants licking their lips around the world and the question of how to respond to their threat growing ever more immediate, Julius Caesar director Diane Page eyes an open goal – and misses. A statue stands alone on the stage (this touring...

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The Merchant of Venice, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - enormous empathy

The Merchant of Venice is a comedy, you say? Shakespeare, as ever, refuses to be confined to convenient boxes, his best plays’ extraordinary pliability and longevity a testament to the piercing eye he cast towards the slings and arrows that assail...

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Henry V, Donmar Warehouse review - playing at war

Sharp suits swapped for combat fatigues, a people’s commander: you’d think that Max Webster’s production of Shakespeare's  surprisingly nuanced propaganda history-play would have special resonance in a week which has seen horrors and heroism...

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Hamlet, Shakespeare's Globe review - melancholy mash-up lacks chemistry

Hamlet isn’t often played for laughs. When David Tennant took the comedic approach in the RSC’s 2008 production, it was testament to his mercurial genius that his performance brilliantly conveyed the manic grief of a young man whose world was...

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Measure for Measure, Sam Wanamaker Theatre review - this problem play is a delight

Measure for Measure may be the quintessential Shakespeare “problem” play, but just what has earned it that epithet remains a puzzle. Each generation approaches the matter from its own perspective. The developments of recent years, #MeToo most of all...

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The Comedy of Errors, RSC, Barbican review - Shakespearean Christmas panto

“Am I myself?” At the tangled centre of Shakespeare’s comedy of two pairs of identical twins, servant Dromio asks the question on which everything else hangs. The delivery is exasperated, the context bantering, but the words are the flimsy door onto...

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A Merchant of Venice, Playground Theatre review - Shylock supreme in a pared-down production

What’s in an article? Director Bill Alexander has titled his new production A Merchant of Venice, leaving us to ponder the implications that arise from his avoidance of the standard “the”? Is it a hint towards generality, broadening the focus of...

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Macbeth, Royal Opera review - bloody, bold, and resolute

Phyllida Lloyd’s production of Macbeth has been in rep at the Royal Opera since 2002, and it is a solid performer. The setting is slick and vaguely period, with lots of iron weaponry, smart, pony-tailed warriors, but not a kilt in sight. The set (...

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Macbeth, Almeida Theatre review – vivid, but much too long

Remembering the months of lockdown, I can’t be the only person to thrill to this play’s opening lines, “When shall we three meet again?”, a phrase evocative enough to be borrowed as the first line of this year’s Wolf Alice album, Blue Weekend....

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Hamlet, Young Vic review - Cush Jumbo flares in a low-key production

It is a truism that every Hamlet is different, depending more than any other play on the casting of the lead. Each production moulds itself around the personality of the actor playing the prince. In Cush Jumbo, working here with Greg Hersov, who...

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Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's Globe review - foot-stompingly good fun

The best version of Twelfth Night I’ve seen is not called Twelfth Night. For sheer knockabout entertainment, nothing beats the 2006 film She’s the Man. But Sean Holmes’ production for the Globe’s summer season, brimming with song and physical comedy...

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Hamlet, Windsor Theatre Royal review - the age is out of joint

So it wasn’t Cinderella but Hamlet who was first out of the post-lockdown starting blocks – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much trumpeted musical premiere being foiled by a ping at the weekend. Instead the historic first curtain-up was 20 miles up the River...

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